Mardi Gras on the Western Iowa Wine Trail
March 1-2, 2014

Mardi Gras! A time of the Carnival celebrations, beginning on or after the Epiphany or Kings day and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday,” reflecting the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season.

“Mark’s Chicken and Sausage Gumbo”
1 tablespoon oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 pound Klements Andouille sausage, cut into 1/4 slices
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced onion
6 cups water
1 package Zatarain’s Gumbo, base only
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 jar HyVee Slow Cooker Sauce
Plus on jar of water

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker (Crock Pot) and cook on low for 3 hours.  Enjoy!


“Holiday Entertaining” on the Western Iowa Wine Trail
November 2-3, 2013

Fall! Our favorite time of the year! And a perfect day to be on the wine trail! Thank you for joining us during this beautiful weekend!  MANY of you requested our “Holiday Cheer” – mulled wine recipe made with our Harvest Red.

“Holiday Cheer”
1 Bottle Vine Street Cellars Harvest Red
2 cinnamon sticks
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
8 whole cloves
1 cup of brown sugar
1 orange, sliced

Combine Vine Street Cellars Harvest Red, cinnamon sticks, allspice, whole cloves (I wrapped & tied these in a cheese cloth), and brown sugar in a pot and heat until sugar dissolves. Do not boil. Pour into crock-pot, keep on lowest setting. Cut orange slices and float on top of “Holiday Cheer”.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Cookies
Serves: 30 cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon rum extract
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cinnamon Cream Cheese frosting, recipe follows, optional
Cinnamon or nutmeg for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and granulated sugar at medium speed with a mixer until creamy. Add the eggs, vanilla extract and rum extract, beating until combined. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating until combined. Wrap the dough in heavy-duty plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Use a 4-inch round cookie cutter to cut out the dough. Place the dough on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the edges are very lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the pans for 2 minutes. Then remove and cool completely on wire racks. Spread the Cinnamon Cream Cheese frosting on the cookies if using. Sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
3 cups powdered sugar
In a medium bowl, whisk together cream cheese, butter and pumpkin pie spice with an electric mixer. Add in the         powdered sugar in thirds. Makes about 1-1/2 cups frosting.


Grillin’ with Iowa Wines, Western Iowa Wine Trail   *   July 20-21, 2013

What a beautiful day to be on the wine trail! We’re glad you stopped by to enjoy our winery, our wines and our Chardonel Grilled Chicken Tacos! Great to see many new faces as well as our returning patrons! Here’s to all of you who requested our recipes:

Chardonel Grilled Chicken
6 skinless chicken breast, 1 cup Vine Street Cellars Chardonel, 1 cup chicken broth, ½ cup olive oil, ½ cup scallions, mined, 3 cloves garlic (minced), 3 T fresh lime juice, 3 T chili powder,1 T fresh cilantro (chopped),
1 tsp salt, 1 tsp cumin, 1/ tsp coriander
Combine all ingredients with chicken in a resealable bag for 4-6 hours. Grill.  Slice chicken, serve in a warmed corn tortilla with lettuce and your choice of Aioli sauces below:

Cilantro-Lime Aioli
1/3 cup light mayo, ½ cup sour cream,  2 T skim milk, 2 oz. can diced green chilies (minced again),  2T fresh lime juice, ½ tsp ground cumin, ¼ tsp kosher salt, ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, Queso Fresco cheese, grated (12 oz.)
Combine ingredients, except cilantro and mix well.  Fold in chopped cilantro. Chill until ready to use.
Add grated Queso Freso cheese and drizzle aioli in chicken taco with lettuce.

Spicy Sriracha Aioli
1 cup mayonnaise, 2 T Sriracha (Thai chili paste), 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 clove garlic (minced), 1 lime, zest & juiced, Kosher salt to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix thoroughly.  Chill until ready to use. Drizzle on chicken taco with lettuce and Zesty Corn Salsa (recipe below).

Zesty Corn Salsa
2 cans Shoepeg corn (drained),1 sm can – diced black olives, chopped (drained), 1 sm jar diced jalapeno (to your taste), 6 med ripe diced tomatoes, ½ bunch cilantro (chopped), green onions (chopped), 1 can black beans, (drained), 1 cup Zesty Kraft Italian Dressing (or to taste)
Combine all ingredients, let flavors combine for a couple hours or overnights.
Serve in Chardonel Grilled Chicken Tacos or enjoy with corn chips.

Around the World, Western Iowa Wine Trail Event   *   April 28-29, 2013

This was our first year participating in the Western Iowa Wine Trail! What an experience!
It was wonderful to meet many of you who were first timers to our winery.  For this “Around the World” event, we at Vine Street Cellars chose the country of Portugal.  We served Portuguese Bean Soup paired with our Harvest Red. We also served slices of smoked Portuguese chorizo from Stoysich Sausage (Omaha, NE) and Kings Hawaiian Sweet Dinner Rolls (slices). Many of you requested our soup recipe, some of you even returned to our winery requesting it!  Here it is!

Portuguese Bean Soup

1-2 pounds smoked ham hock
6 cups chicken broth
2 cans tomato sauce (8-oz. each)
2 cans kidney beans (15-oz. each)
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp black pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
4 potatoes, cubed into 1-1/2 inch pieces
4 carrots, cut into 1-1/2 inch piece
1 bay leaf
1 small head cabbage
1 Portuguese sausage, cut into ½ inch slices (We use smoked kielbasa due to cost)
In a large pot, cover ham hock with chicken broth.  If needed, add water to cover ham hock and boil until tender (about 1-2 hours).  Skim off fat while cooking.  Add rest of ingredients and cook until tender. This can easily prepared in a crock-pot.

Bon Appétit!